Police within Somerset also confirmed that local officers were helping direct traffic around the scene where the shooting took place.
— MSM is Pravda 🐻 (@RitchieJodi) March 6, 2020
A statement provided by the FBI noted that the shooting occurred while agents dispatched were attempting to serve a federal arrest warrant at a residence located off of Mountain View Drive.
The FBI mobile command center just arrived on scene. pic.twitter.com/xZqnBhfrxm
— Jim Stratman (@JimSNews) March 6, 2020
Officials have noted that the agent’s injuries do not appear to be life threatening. The investigation is currently being handled by the FBI’s Inspection Division.
Some local reports indicate that the subjects that the FBI were targeting for arrest were police constables.
These claims say that federal authorities arrested two constables in Pulaski County during the incident that left one agent and one of the arrestees shot.
Robert Norfleet, a defense attorney in Somerset, confirmed that one of the persons apprehended by federal authorities on Friday was Constable Mike “Wally” Wallace.
Apparently, the FBI have been keeping tabs on Wallace and a handful of other constables and notified local prosecutors of the ongoing investigation.
Fluid situation in Somerset (Mtn view dr) where FBI is on scene investigation following this mornings arrest of Constable Mike Wallace. Another constable and a special agent were shot&wounded earlier today. @LEX18News pic.twitter.com/3Boe3R2EBq
— Michael Berk (@LEX18_Michael) March 6, 2020
Norfleet says that he’s been representing Wallace during the course of the investigation, and that he was not the person shot in the incident on March 6th. Motions that were in the hand of local attorneys in the county showed that the FBI was looking into various forms of corruption against Wallace and other constables.
It’s likely that these arrests came from evidence alleging that Wallace, and others, were engaged in theft and inconsistencies in the amount of property seized from drug busts and evidence logged regarding some cases.
Noo federal charges have been officially announced against Wallace. If charges are pressed, it could likely affect dozens of cases where he played a role in the investigation or arrest.
Timothy E. Jones, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who lives in Pulaski County, claims to be one of the people that tipped off the FBI regarding Wallace’s alleged crimes.
In September of 2018, Jones called the police because of a domestic dispute with his girlfriend in the home, Lisa Nichols. Wallace had arrived with other constables and wound up arresting Jones for finding marijuana, pain pills and methamphetamine.
Jones swore that none of the narcotics were his, but what perturbed him the most was that money was allegedly stolen from him during the bust. He claimed he had $9,000 in cash within his home when constables arrived, but evidence only logged $7,430.
Jones’ girlfriend Nichols wound up pleading guilty to the drug charges. Jones was also charged with selling methamphetamine, but plead not guilty, saying that the drugs seized inside the home solely belonged to Nichols.
When commenting on the news of Wallace’s arrest, Jones stated:
“There is justice. Thank God.”
Still, the FBI has not made any official announcement regarding Wallace being linked to the March 6th arrest.
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In other FBI related news, federal agents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania stated that they have a suspect in custody after the man allegedly opened fired at agents in Philadelphia.
Authorities say that an 18-hour standoff with 37-year-old Rafael Vega-Rodriguez began in the early hours of March 2nd. According to reports of the incident, Vega-Rodriguez exchanged gunfire with FBI agents near the 300 block of West Greenwich Street.
#ICYMI, Rafael Vega-Rodriguez is in custody following his arrest overnight in Leola, Pa. The FBI would like to express our utmost appreciation to everyone involved in the response to the shooting in #ReadingPa late Sun night & the search for, & apprehension of, Vega-Rodriguez.
— FBI Philadelphia (@FBIPhiladelphia) March 3, 2020
Assisting the FBI at the time, the Reading Police helped shut down the block where the shooting occurred, while law enforcement hovered over the area with helicopters. The immediate area was shut down for several hours, and then crews shifted the search over to the 500 block of Gordon Street.
DAY-LONG STANDOFF: Rafael Vega-Rodriguez reportedly shot at FBI agents. Now, they're searching for him and are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
— FOX 29 (@FOX29philly) March 3, 2020
FBI personnel arrived at the believed address of the suspect later that day via an armored vehicle. However, agents turned up empty handed when searching the believed residence of Vega-Rodriguez.
Reading Mayor Eddie Moran and William McSwain, the U.S. attorney for Pennsylvania’s eastern district, waited patiently for any updates regarding the apprehension of Vega-Rodriguez. Yet, Monday came to a close and still no sign of the suspect.
The FBI announced that anyone with information on the whereabouts of Vega-Rodriguez would be able to receive a reward up to $10,000.
And wouldn’t you know it, agents located Vega-Rodriguez in the township of Leola, Pennsylvania hours after announcing the reward.
The FBI & @ReadingPolice1 are asking for the public's help locating Rafael Vega-Rodriguez, 37, of #ReadingPa. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to his arrest and conviction. Vega-Rodriguez is 5'3", 145 lbs, balding, w/tattoos on L arm & L hand. pic.twitter.com/zLxWUd1DHb
— FBI Philadelphia (@FBIPhiladelphia) March 2, 2020
More often than not, you aren’t likely to find too many folks willing to hide a fugitive when there’s a potential payday publicized. While there wasn’t mention of whether the FBI received a tip in connection with the reward announced, the timing just seems too coincidental to not acknowledge.
In a press conference held by the FBI, it was stated that the suspect has been officially charged with assault on a federal officer.
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